Pastry scrapers really need their own infomercial. It slices! It dices! It cleans up gunked-on messes! I use mine for all of the above.
First and foremost, I use my scraper for bread baking. It cuts through big wads of dough cleanly and then helps to scoop them off the counter for shaping. For very wet and loose doughs, the scraper is essential for gently working with them without making an enormous mess of things. And nothing is better for portioning out rolls and bread sticks, transferring shaped dough to pans, and yes, scraping the flour gunk from the counter when I'm all done.
And then there's everything else. I use my scraper to cut pans of brownies and lasagna, to scoop up piles of chopped vegetables for the pot, lift cookies from the baking sheet, and so much more. Whenever I need a tool to lift, pry, scrape, or scoop, this is the tool for which I reach first.
The scraper I have is the great grand-daddy to this one:
• OXO Good Grips Pastry Scraper, $9.99 from Amazon
My father gave me this pastry scraper when he first taught me how to make artisan bread. Ten years later, it's still with me. Mauled, scratched, and worn: the scraper is still one of the most useful tools in my drawer.
Related: 5 Basic Baking Tools I Can't Live Without
(Image: Emma Christensen)